By Joan Idu – (Contributory writer).
The clanging sounds that trailed trucks as they brought poles for powering, the hasty movement of the young ones at the sound of “pump na agba”, an exclamation that availed them the opportunity to get clean water supply, the beads of perspiration dropping from the faces of young children, as they joyously displayed their “ije-ngala” festive dance moves, the unperturbed attitude of parents, as they allowed their children to dance on the streets of Enugu, knowing that their safety is assured. The “Up Nepa” thundering voices in unison at the restoration of power supply, the blaring sounds of the oncoming train at GRA, Holy Ghost, and Ogui Road, the days when all government sectors strived to outperform each other, when our benchmark was Boston Massachusetts that gave birth to IMT,
The cheering for victory at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, in support of the Rangers Football club, all remind us of our glorious and happy days.
The state of Enugu has been our source of joy.
It has been a home to us in every sense of the word.
It is therefore pertinent that we preserve this home of ours. These glorious days cannot only be restored and sustained, but can even be made greater.
The growth of a nation, state, council, or community, is largely dependent on the collaborative efforts of the leaders and the led.
The different systems of government presently standing in Nigeria, were instituted as a result of the need to adequately get to the citizens at all quarters, and meet their needs.
For this reason, representatives are elected to head the various units, for effective governance, and to respond to the daunting challenges of rural and urban development.
Many years after the democratic system of government was adopted by the Nigerian government, it seems the sole aim of that move has been neglected.
While the people have a role to play in the development of the state, governance as the primary responsibility of the government is aimed at improving the social well-being of the people and mitigating their problems.
Enugu State like many others in the country, has its own daunting challenges that has eaten deep into the growth process of the state.
Primary health care delivery is fraught with challenges (such as inadequate funding,lack of drugs, quality service) which stem from the abysmal failures of the government. Measures such as improved budgetary allocation, strengthening the supply chain of drugs, enhanced clinical service delivery are conditions imperative for improved health care service in Enugu State rural communities.
We must understand that a comprehensive health care system is based on primary health care that is promotive, protective, preventive, restorative and rehabilitative to all citizens within the available resources.
Without dedicated funding and support from the State government, local level actors will have limited ability to support effective policy implementation.
Enugu state has a population of 3,267,837 with an annual growth rate of 2.8%.
Health facilities in the state include six district hospitals, 36 cottage hospitals, and over 366 PHCs, including comprehensive health centers.
But the problem lies in the effective monitoring of the use of the provided equipment, and the dedication of the medical personnel to the discharge of their respective duties.
The goal of primary health care in Nigeria is to provide accessible health for all, promote prevention of diseases, and avert shortage of essential drugs. But the strategies developed for effective implementation of national health programs in the three tiers of government (Federal, State and Local government) are poorly implemented.
Enugu like other states of the federation is implicit in the institutional inadequacies.
While the implementation of the allocated healthcare budget is important, the need for compassion, ethics and efficient discharge of duties by medical personnel, cannot be overlooked. For no reason should those who cannot afford medical bills, be left for dead if they do not make deposits.
Similarly, accident and gunshot victims should be ultimately attended to, before requesting for deposit or police statements.
Twenty three years after the institution of democracy and the restoration of elected civilian government in Nigeria, serious challenges persist at the federal, state and local levels.
These include an alarming spate of armed violence, and apparent inability of the security forces to restore law and order, bring the perpetrators to justice and reassure a traumatized citizenry.
The security challenge presently faced in Enugu is acute, and should be treated as such.
Its linkage with poor political governance may not be far from the truth.
The citizens have depended on police,engaged private guards, fortified their homes with security gadgets, and established communal security associations. But there is only so much that they can do, with the little authority that they have.
Security of life and property are the primary purpose of the government.
The 1999 Constitution emphasized that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of the government.
The security of life and property of Ndi Enugu, remains paramount.
There is a need for the state to rebuild its economy and provide jobs for its army of young people.
Enugu has the status of the regional administrative, industrial and business, and entertainment hub, making Enugu the political capital and rallying point of the Igbo people.
These should be used as an advantage to grow the economy of the state.
The unemployment rate in the state has risen to a fore.
This therefore, questions the capacity of the government to govern effectively.
Beyond creating job opportunities to the teeming graduates, they can also be
Equipped with entrepreneurial skills, and given capital to set up their businesses.
Pervasive corruption, which has reduced government’s annual budgetary pronouncements and development targets, forestalls the economic growth of any nation or state.
Despite the existence of a variety of economic activities in Enugu State, the state does not generate enough internal revenue. Over the years, Enugu State has relied heavily on revenues from the Federation Accounts and Value AddedTax (VAT).
In Enugu State Vision 4:2020 Medium Term Implementation Plan(ENVMTIP) 2010 – 2013, the state’s government identified its narrow revenue base as an impediment to effective governance and rapid development of the state. In the document, the Enugu State government maintained ‘it needs to urgently expand economic activities that will generate employment and increased internally generated revenue within the plan period’. One Of the key goals of the state’s Vision 2020 is to improve internally generated revenue by at least 50 percent, while another is to develop a robust industrial sector that will attract local and foreign investments.
This year is 2022, and rather than attract more investors to the state, some businesses in the state have closed up, while some others are at the verge of collapsing.
It seems the Private-Public Partnership and Donor Partnership arrangements for vision 2020, was not followed through.
As at September 2021 Enugu state domestic debt stands at N69,169,594,013.02, while the external debt as at December 2020 was $124,238,597.23 ( Debt Management Office).
Now the big question is, are PRODA, SEDI, and GTC adequately utilized for production and industrialization of the state?
Good water supply is one of the major challenges facing Enugu, and portable water is one of the key development needs of the people.
Several donations have been made by the world bank and other international organizations, in a bid to solve the water challenges in the state.
Have these donations been judiciously utilized?
Are the services of the qualified and best fit for the job engaged to see to the water needs of Ndi Enugu?
Or are those saddled with these responsibilities simply not doing their jobs?
These and many more questions are yet unanswered, but one thing is certain.
There is a probable solution for the water scarcity in Enugu.
Coal City state is home to the famous
Rangers International Football Club, commonly known as Enugu Rangers.
This is the most successful professional football club in Nigeria.
Although it shares that status with Enyimba F.C, for now, it is the only one that has never gone to relegation, and has remained the pride of the Igbo man, as regards football.
The home games played at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, will always be a beautiful memory etched in the hearts and minds of Ndi Enugu.
This pride of ours shall not be lost, therefore adequate attention should be paid to the growth and sustainability of the club.
Beyond paying attention to the football team, adequate attention should also be paid to other sports activities and athletics in the state.
This will not only retain our pride, but grow our economy.
As a people, we may ask questions like :
Will Enugu State ever be the same again?
Can we regain our lost glory?
Can Enugu be greater?
What went wrong, and how did we find ourselves in these depleted states?
The revival of Enugu is dependent on our collective efforts.
As we look forward to the restoration of the good old days, the Enugu that our founding fathers built, the Enugu known for peace, harmony, and safety, the Enugu where water challenge had not become a norm, we must get actively involved in the electioneering process.
If we must build the state of our dreams,we must elect the right people into office.
Indeed, elections have more or less become an organized crime in various parts of the country.
In this criminal enterprise, politicians go into electioneering contests with a fixation not on service but on capturing state power and access to public resources meant for overall development of the people for personal gains.
This has put in us persistent low confidence in the capability of the electoral system to produce truly elected political leaders at various levels.
Nevertheless, we must not give up!
Now that the problems have been identified, the next thing to do is proffer solutions, and see to its implementation.
A solution has been identified
This solution will be discussed in the next edition.
A New Dawn is upon us.